Discussion Papers

No.826 Labor Market Information and Parental Attitudes toward Women Working Outside the Home: Experimental Evidence from Rural Pakistan

by Momoe Makino

September 2021


Women’s paid-work participation remains low in South Asian countries even though it is considered crucial for development and alleviation of poverty. Prior qualitative interviews have revealed the general lack of knowledge on labor market opportunities for women workers. This study aims to investigate whether providing parents with information on income earning opportunities for young women is effective in changing parental attitudes toward women working outside the home. A randomized controlled trial was conducted within commuting distance of formal export-oriented garment factories in rural Pakistan. The estimation results show that provision of information about working conditions and environments is effective in influencing positive changes in parental attitudes toward women working in garment factories. Given the strong stigma associated with women working outside the home, especially in factories, I believe that the observed positive transformation forms an encouraging first step toward achieving actual enhancement of women’s paid-work participation.

Keywords: Women working outside the home, Parental decision, Information, Social norm, Randomized controlled trial, South Asia

JEL classification: D83, D91, J16, J29, O53, Z13

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